TEAM WORK: Hervey Bay dragon boat competitors Sharon Roberts, Lorna Hill and Jenny Shaplan (wearing caps) with coach Josie Lategan.
TEAM WORK: Hervey Bay dragon boat competitors Sharon Roberts, Lorna Hill and Jenny Shaplan (wearing caps) with coach Josie Lategan. Contributed

Rigorous test and training prepares Bay paddlers for titles

DRAGON BOATS: Three dragon boat competitors from Hervey Bay will represent Queensland at Australia's premier championships in Canberra next week.

To prove they were up to the challenge, Jenny Shapland, Lorna Hill and Sharon Roberts were put through a rigorous fitness test to secure a spot in the Australian Dragon Boat Championships.

Hill and Shapland will paddle with Central Queensland and Roberts will paddle for the Senior B team.

Both Queensland teams will compete against clubs from all states for a chance to win the title of national champion.

All three ladies started training about four months ago with coach Josie Lategan, who Hill said had given them a fighting chance at winning.

"She has put us through our paces by preparing and developing our strength, technique and mindset so we're ready for Canberra," Hill said.

"We have had the opportunity to train with various clubs like Redcliffe, Tweed Heads, 1770 and Bundaberg who compete at a national level.

"That has greatly enhanced our paddling experience."

<< CLICK HERE TO READ MORE LOCAL SPORT STORIES >>

The event is held on Lake Burley Griffin where the average temperature is much colder than Queensland, which Hill said was a new experience.

"I haven't been to Canberra and we've been training in all this heat over the past four months and we're going down to a big temperature drop," Hill said.

"I don't know how to acclimatise from Brisbane to Canberra weather in three days.

"I've been warned to take thermals and keep warm and take extra clothes and I'm just not used to that."

Hill said they would be paddling with team mates they hadn't met but was confident they would have just as much of a chance at winning than any other team.

"That's the challenge with these things," Hill said.

"Especially when it comes to a team sport that involves between 10 and 20 paddlers.

"If nothing else, it has been the process and the journey going to this particular event."

The Australian Dragon Boat Championships are held in Canberra from Wednesday, April 17 to Monday, April 22.